EyeNet enrolls in partnership with university

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Monday, August 1, 2005

ORLAND PARK, Ill.--EyeNet Enforcement Systems partnered with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May to jointly develop an intelligent security camera platform for commercial applications.
The two organizations seek to deliver a system that can identify, record and report suspicious people and vehicles. Features will include logging license plate numbers, make, model and colors of questionable cars and trucks.
The University of Illinois brings to the partnership its self-aiming camera software that can be deployed to receive and process input from multiple sensors. The platform can be programmed to detect and track suspicious objects.
EyeNet, which primarily focuses on digital enforcement systems, offers vehicle license plate recognition software that locates and identifies stationary and moving objects. Its software can be used to scan for characters such as letters and numbers.
"We're coming up with options that can be used by law enforcement and security (firms) much more effectively," commented company President Thomas Tarach on the partnership.
The first beta user is the Lemont Police Department, a suburb southwest of Chicago. The department installed a camera outside its station to scan license plates for wanted criminals.
The company first brought its vehicle tracking software to the United States in March. The technology was developed by Hong Kong-based Asia Vision, which signed an exclusive distribution agreement with the company for the U.S. market.
EyeNet was founded in January, as a spin-off of Network Electric, an installer and integrator of red light running cameras. Founded in 1994, Network Electric is the largest installer of Redflex Traffic Systems' photo enforcement products.
"That gave us all the exposure of the whole system, from start to finish," said Tarach.
Intelligent camera software companies have flooded the security space in the last year. Existing players making strides in the industry include 3VR Security, Covi Technologies and ObjectVideo. These companies develop applications that enhance the hardware produced by the likes of Pelco, Panasonic, Sony and General Electric.
"It's the beauty of the free market," commented industry analyst Joseph Freeman, principal at J.P. Freeman Co., on the emergence of so much interest in smart camera technology.
Freeman said he expects the next 12 months to be a shakeout period. Not all companies will be able to survive in a space with limited revenue opportunities. The winners will be ones that create a successful distribution system and ink important government contracts.
Last month, EyeNet relocated its headquarters here from Crestwood, Ill.